Recapping a Year’s Worth of Fukushima-Related Work

JLD vertical CTo implement what we’ve learned from 2011’s Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, the NRC in November 2011 created a group of more than 20 full-time employees focused exclusively on these activities. This Japan Lessons Learned Project Directorate is now a year old, and everything it’s accomplished to date highlights our dedication to enhancing U.S. nuclear power plant safety.

The directorate’s initial focus, with support from across the NRC and other federal agencies, was issuing orders and requests for information in March 2012 that address many of the lessons we’ve learned.

The Mitigation Strategies order ensures that U.S. reactors will have additional emergency power supplies and other equipment to safely handle extreme natural disasters. The Reliable Hardened Vents order ensures U.S. reactors similar to Fukushima will have more robust systems to vent pressure and hydrogen, helping avoid the explosions we saw during the accident. The Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation order ensures U.S. reactors will be better able to monitor how much water is in their spent fuel pools during an emergency. The information requests have plants reconsidering their earthquake and flooding hazards in light of the latest information, and also ask plants to consider their emergency plans for such situations.

Our work on these issues in fiscal year 2012 included 82 public meetings, and the entire agency devoted 51,203 person-hours to Fukushima-related activities. That’s the equivalent of 43 full-time staff members working on these improvements.

Across the country nuclear power plants are responding to our efforts; all 104 U.S. reactors have performed two walkdowns per reactor, one for earthquake issues and one for flooding. The plants have sent us hundreds of updates, covering issues such as the status of newly purchased equipment for safely handling a prolonged blackout and new spent fuel pool instrumentation.

JLD vertical CWe’ve also created this logo to help you identify our work on implementing the lessons we’ve learned. The bonsai tree represents Japanese culture, with the green foliage in the shape of Japan’s islands representing hope and growth. The red sun comes from Japan’s flag, and the base of the logo represents a solid foundation of cooperation and understanding. It’s important to remember that the NRC’s work on Fukushima-related matters applies only to U.S. reactors. Japan’s decisions on issues, such as restarting reactors, are entirely that country’s and independent of the NRC’s activities.

All the work we’ve completed this past year sets the foundation for several additional years of action on the orders and requests for information. We expect to get the first sets of flooding and seismic re-analyses next year, as well as every plant’s integrated approach to complying with the orders. We’re also planning several long-term activities looking into other aspects of what happened at Fukushima, so keep an eye out for further developments.

Scott Burnell
Public Affairs Officer

NRC Receives Honor for Supporting Vets

Janine Dehn receives her award.
Janine Dehn receives her award.

One of our employees, Janine Dehn, was recently honored with the “Patriotic Employer Award” for “contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.” Janine was nominated by Guard and Reserve Specialist Christian Rivera prior to his deployment to Egypt.

Janine hired Christian as an administrative assistant in the Office of New Reactors (NRO) where he provided administrative support wherever needed. During his time there, he was temporarily assigned to two different branches to which he provided direct support. A large part of his time was spent working on the Vogtle, Levy, and Summer licenses, as well as AP1000 design control documents and design certification amendments. It was up to Christian to ensure that each chapter of the safety evaluation reports was edited and formatted properly, grammatically correct and issued in a timely manner.

Christians’ extended period of military training in preparation for deployment caused him to spend a great deal of time away from the office. Janine consistently showed concern for Christian’s situation and she created an environment that facilitated both his military and NRC career. Christian noted that set him up for success in every way imaginable, and went above and beyond his expectations of a supervisor.

As a result of Janine receiving the “Patriotic Employer Award,” the NRC received the “Above and Beyond” certificate of appreciation for “outstanding service and continued support to the national defense effort.” This certificate is issued by the Department of Defense on behalf of the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve forces.

The NRC is dedicated to hiring skilled people — and who better than our veterans? Veterans, such as Christian, are well-trained, loyal and dedicated to getting the job done. Their commitment to the government has already been tested by service in the all-volunteer military.

NRC has special authority to appoint veterans if they meet one of the following:

-Veteran Employment Opportunity Act of 1998;

-Veterans Recruitment Appointment;

-30% or More Disabled Veteran; and

-Military Spouse.

Check out the “Employment” page of the NRC web site and click on the Feds Hire Vets icon on the right for more information. Right now about 21 percent of the NRC workforce falls into the “veteran” category.

Kimberly English
Outreach and Recruitment Branch
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